Who is Sanquin?
Sanquin is a famous Dutch non-profit blood services provider. Everything Sanquin does, quite logically, is dedicated to the field of blood. They stand out in the world’s elites for combining together medical, diagnostic and scientific activities. Each year, they provide a better life for 300,000 patients with the help of 400,000 voluntary blood donors. However, Sanquin is not any other regular national blood bank. They have several separate entities, one of which is Sanquin Innovation B.V., or Sanquinnovate. Sanquinnovate takes on the mission for innovations. Their bottom-up approach is simple: ideas are brought up across divisions, then developed into a business case, and they collaborate with external partners when necessary. We at HealthInc have a chance to sit down with Rogier van den Braak, Sanquin Holding BV’s CEO. We are thrilled to have them on board with us and cannot wait for the interview. Let’s get to know Sanquin!
Sanquin and HealthInc
We begin promptly with the question of the day: Why did Sanquin decide to partner with HealthInc? – “Sanquin’s primary goal is to be helpful to patients.” Rogier starts. “Whether it is with the Blood Bank activities or researching and expanding knowledge on different solutions. There HealthInc comes in as a bridge that connects promising startups with resourceful organizations in a health-tech atmosphere.”
Rogier resumes: “The network we can enter by participating in the HealthInc program is indeed very valuable for us. HealthInc offers a golden opportunity to getting involved in cutting-edge technologies whether it is big data, AI or machine learning whilst pushes forward the quality of healthcare. This certainly is beneficial to Sanquin.”
As a joint venture by ahti and Startupbootcamp, HealthInc inherits our founders’ renowned approach and credibility. Acknowledging that, Rogier appreciates the successful approach across many sectors, which finally comes to the healthcare industry. He provides some insightful predictions: “The City of Amsterdam is keen on innovations in this field. By combining these two elements together: IT and healthcare in an innovative surrounding, this (HealthInc) can really be the next growth story of Amsterdam”.
Sanquin and Innovations
Sanquin is well reputed for its scientifically-based products and medications. With a sizeable research facility and more than 250 researchers, Sanquin delivers new value-adding products via their Sanquinnovate exploitation arm. This induces us to ask Rogier about innovations at Sanquin, and the close-knitted relationship with Sanquinnovate. “Before Sanquinnovate, we tried to bring solutions to the market and to patients ourselves. Sanquinnovate really taught us the value of partnering and networking. It enabled us to tap into all sorts of in-house invented solutions that formerly did not fit in our production platforms” – Rogier replies.
He continues to bring about Elsemieke Hackenitz – Sanquinnovate’s business developer and an Intrapreneur in Residence (typically someone who is entrepreneurial and experienced, looking to help founders through guidance, share networks and offer skills). Being a superwoman that wears many hats, Elsemieke is tasked to ‘learn the trick’ and observe how HealthInc gets startups working. Genuinely, this is a heavy-duty: to bring back valuable lessons and impart the knowledge in Sanquin. “But she is very well-positioned for this role” – Rogier adds. The commitment to change and innovations Sanquinnovate has is truly admirable.
Moving forward with HealthInc
Before we greet goodbye and part ways, Rogier provides us with his expectations going forward. “I hope HealthInc will lead to 10 successful startups per year as everybody is planning. More importantly, at least one of the startups will be a result of Sanquin’s research or idea. That would be the ultimate goal for us. It will show that we have developed the capabilities to be a part of the new world.”
It is no argument that Rogier and Sanquin bring a lot to the table. And we certainly await nothing but great news and success!